With the end of the 2006 tax year in sight, donors are carefully considering where they might direct their year-end charitable gifts. Often, UAB is a preferred destination. In this issue, the UAB Reporter features an interview with Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., vice president for Development, Alumni and External Relations at UAB, on the support the university receives.
REPORTER: In fiscal year 2005-06, UAB raised approximately $74.9 million from some 21,546 private donors. This represented the second highest fiscal year total of gifts and pledges in UAB’s history. To what do you attribute this success?
KAHN: We believe that telling the stories of the accomplishments of UAB’s faculty, staff and students makes a compelling case to donors for supporting programs throughout the university and the health system. Because of UAB’s size and the scope of its programs, potential donors to UAB can find numerous programs to attract their interest and attention and, ultimately, their philanthropic support. For ex-ample, a donor might decide to help build a new facility, or support a faculty member’s research or help a student fund her education through an academic scholarship. Other donors may choose to direct funds to the arts, athletics, student activities and campus beautification projects.
No matter what projects were presented to them, our donors – especially donors in the Birmingham community – have responded generously, as shown by the almost $75 million in support past year. In fact, in the past 36 months, more than $211.8 million in gifts and pledges have been committed through our “Maintaining the Momentum” effort. What is all the more extraordinary about this generosity is that these additional gifts and pledges came immediately following the successful conclusion of the Campaign for UAB, which raised $388.7 million.
REPORTER: Can you describe one significant gift illustrating how donors choose their focus for giving?
KAHN: W. Cobb “Chip” Hazelrig, a Mountain Brook businessman, has comm-itted $5 million to help build the Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Facility. Chip had a personal interest in radiation therapy as his father had received treatment at UAB. In addition, Chip’s family had been very close to Dr. S. Merle Salter and Dr. Paul Salter. When we announced the Rays of Hope Campaign for private support to build the Radiation Oncology Center, Chip attended a presentation about the facility and the need it would fulfill. After follow-up from UAB, Chip decided that he wished to target his philanthropy to this project by naming the facility in his parents’ honor and to honor the outstanding work of the Salters. In Chip’s case, the opportunity to make a difference could be found in this magnificent gift for facilities.
REPORTER: How have our alumni made a difference?
KAHN: Alumni have played and continue to play a role not only in fund raising, but also in volunteering their time in service to their particular schools and the university at large. One of our priorities in the past few years has been to create an overall structure that enables alumni of every discipline to become engaged in UAB. The University Alumni Council was created to bring together members of the National Alumni Society, as well as members of the constituent societies in Medicine, Dentistry, Health Professions and Optometry. Today, almost 8,000 members are active.
REPORTER: If a member of the UAB family wants to make a gift to the university before year’s end, how might they best accomplish this?
KAHN: All of our schools and many units in the School of Medicine have development directors. By contacting them, you can learn where important needs could be helped with private support. Alternatively, you can go online and make a gift today.